Veronica catenata (Water Speedwell)

Plant Info
Also known as: Pink Water Speedwell
Family:Plantaginaceae (Plantain)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade, sun; wet; marshes, stream banks, seeps
Bloom season:May - September
Plant height:1 to 3 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: OBL MW: OBL NCNE: OBL
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 4-petals Flower shape: tubular Cluster type: raceme

[photo of flowers] Racemes of flowers at the top of the plant and from leaf axils in the upper plant. Flowers are 1/8 to ¼ inch across, white, pink or blue-lavender, tubular with 4 rounded-diamond shaped lobes (petals). The upper lobe is streaked with darker purple at the base, the lower lobe smaller than the others. Lobes are fused at the base forming a short tube, greenish on the inside of the throat, with two long lavender tipped stamens and a slender white style projecting from the tube.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: opposite Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are 1 to 4 inches long, 1/3 to 2 inches wide, opposite, stalkless and mostly clasping, broad at the base, elliptic to oblong with short tapered tip, mostly toothless. Stems are sprawling in loose mats as season progresses, branching occasionally. Stems, leaves and flower parts may have short, fine, glandular hairs in the upper plant.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of developing fruit] Fruit is a 2-lobed, slightly flattened capsule, about 1/8 inch long and wide, hairless or sparsely glandular hairy, nearly round in outline with a dimple at the tip. Inside are numerous yellowish seeds.


A circumboreal species, it is widespread in North America and across Minnesota. A similar species is American Speedwell (Veronica americana), which has stalked leaves where V. catenata are stalkless. While called "water" speedwell in the land of 10,000 lakes, it is not that frequently encountered as it prefers slow moving streams, ditches and seeps—not prime recreation areas! There is some debate on the taxonomy of this species. Many references lump V. catenata into Veronica anagallis-aquatica, a native of Eurasia and considered by some as introduced to North America (see the BONAP distribution map). The DNR takes the stance that they are separate species and V. catenata is native. V. anagallis-aquatica is said to have slightly larger flowers, is less likely to have glandular parts, has proportionately broader leaves that may be sharply serrated, and often produces sterile shoots in autumn that have rounded, stalked leaves.

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More photos

Photos by Peter M. Dziuk taken in a seep along the Mississippi River in Dakota County.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Tim - River Park in Brooklyn Park, Hennepin County
on: 2018-06-30 21:40:50

Growing along bank of Mississippi River below the usual spring high water line.

Posted by: Karyn Torkelson - Scott County
on: 2020-05-16 23:15:58

Found in Cleary Lake Regional park

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